A profound psychologist and philosopher, Dostoyevsky depicted with remarkable insight the depth and complexity of the human soul. His powerful though generally humorless narrative style, his understanding of the intricacies of character, especially the pathological conscience, and his interest in sin and redemption made him a giant among novelists.Dostoyevsky was born and raised in Moscow. His father, a military surgeon and an alcoholic of despotic temperament, was brutally killed by his own serfs. This event haunted Dostoyevsky all his life and perhaps accounts in part for the preoccupation with murder and guilt in his writings. Dostoyevsky attended military engineering school in St. Petersburg but soon abandoned this career for writing.His first published work, Poor Folk (1846), which brought him immediate critical and public recognition, reveals his characteristic compassion for the downtrodden. At about this time Dostoyevsky became involved with a group of radical Utopians. The discovery of their illegal printing press brought about their arrest. Dostoyevsky was sentenced to four years in a Siberian penal colony. During this period he suffered great physical and mental pain, including repeated attacks of epilepsy. He abandoned his belief in the liberal, atheistic ideologies of Western Europe and turned wholeheartedly to religion and to the belief that Orthodox Russia was destined to be the spiritual leader of the world. After several years of obligatory military service in Siberia, he was allowed to return to St. Petersburg.Dostoyevsky joined his beloved brother Mikhail in editing the magazine Time, which serialized The Insulted and The Injured (1861 -1862) and the record of his experience in the penal colony, The House of the Dead (1862). Notes from the Underground (1864), a detailed study of neurotic suffering, began the greatest period of Dostoyevsky's literary career. Crime and Punishment, a brilliant portrait of sin, remorse, and redemption through sacrifice, followed in 1866. His next novel, The Idiot (1868), concerns a Christ figure, a meek and noble man whose effect on those around him is tragic. The Possessed (1871-1872) is a violent denunciation of the leftists and revolutionaries that Dostoyevsky had previously admired. This theme is central to the enormously complex plot and character development of his masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov (1879-1880), generally thought to be one of the finest novels ever written.Dostoyevsky died of a lung hemorrhage complicated by an attack of epilepsy.